Jesus said, “For if you forgive people their wrongdoings, then your heavenly Father will forgive you [your wrongdoings]...”
— Matthew 6:14 (USC)
Justice is the Lord’s business and nobody else’s, especially with regard to personal justice. No one can avenge a wrong done against us; no one but the Lord.
But we place ourselves in the position of influence over ourselves when we submit before God and forgive those who have wronged us no matter what it was.
When I think of the worst things to forgive, I think of abuses incurred, so horrible as to hardly want to imagine them. Humanity – the evil of it – can be a despicable lot! And to retrieve such memories may even cause re-traumatisation! There is peace in only one outcome; taking the issue to God and partaking of the Lord’s love to anesthetise and heal.
The way we do that is by going to God – surrendered and submitted – because God alone is trustworthy and faithful and would never harm us – and seeking his help to forgive them.
As we surrender, we account for our sin; to withhold forgiveness.
As we submit, we open the doorway of the Spirit into our own hearts and lives.
As we trust him alone who is entirely trustworthy and faithful we are granted the peace of surrender and submission – and what precious states of being these are!
To surrender our will and to submit to God – who can never let us down – we find ourselves strangely situated. For the first time, perhaps ever, we are at peace. It is a bizarre feeling. This peace is an openness of unencumbered delight. It is not bliss, nor is it numbness, nor is it inebriation. It is the fullness of the moment. It is the seconds where the blinkers are off and all distractions wither into nothingness. This is the place where God anoints us with his healing. One moment of this is great enough to last all eternity!
And once we have experienced this salubrious spaciousness of unadorned serenity we know there is no point in moving back: the issue, the person, the group... all is forgiven. We remain surrendered and submitted. We have come to be convinced. No further correspondence is entered into, for it would all be superfluity.
When we have forgiven, having consumed that grace – for only through God’s agency can we forgive – we become benefactors of that very same grace regarding our sin.
Our being forgiven begins with our forgiving; when we have forgiven, we are forgiven.
We cannot enjoy the grace that is ours until we have enjoyed giving them their grace.
QUESTIONS in REVIEW:
1. What forgiveness challenges are still before you?
2. If you have experienced something of the experience of God gifting you with surrender and submission – unencumbered trust – what must be done to ‘replicate’ that experience? In other words, what must we bring to God so we may employ his power for peace?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr. Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.